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VA Mercury News: VA Governor Rejects Claim of Underfunding Virginia State University
From Virginia Mercury News …
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration denies that the commonwealth has underfunded the historically Black Virginia State University compared to the state’s other land-grant institution, Virginia Tech, after federal officials estimated VSU is owed over $277 million in state funding from 1987 to 2020.
To calculate that figure, the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture used a database that the administration says has “well-documented issues.” In a letter to the federal agencies, Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera wrote that the commonwealth funded Virginia State “well above” Virginia Tech on a per-student basis, according to state data.
“The commonwealth has met its obligations for our 1862 and 1890 land-grant institutions,” Guidera wrote. “Our administration will continue to work tirelessly to improve outcomes at all of our institutions and to prepare students for success.”
Last month, the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture sent letters to the governors of 16 states including Gov. Youngkin, asking them to address underfunding for HBCU land-grant institutions such as Virginia State University.
Dr. Mortimer Neufville, president and CEO of the 1890 Universities Foundation that represents the 19 institutions across the country including Virginia State, said in a response to the Youngkin administration’s letter that the commonwealth has not grasped the historic extent of underfunding and its impact on VSU.
“While we appreciate the Virginia Governor’s attention to this issue and the current level of commitment, it’s not apparent that he and others have fully grasped the historic extent of underfunding and how this continues to impact Virginia State to this day,” Neufville said in a statement.
He went on to ask that if state funding for Virginia State is “truly where it’s supposed to be, as the governor claims, then what’s the funding level match for its land-grant sibling Virginia Tech? If it’s identical, then we’ve indeed reached full parity. But, if that disparity between the two institutions remains, it appears we have a problem that’s in need of an equitable solution.”